Thursday, 19 February 2015

A Hundred Years On A Handshake - Brian Hanington

M. Sullivan and Son, the Arnprior, Ontario-based construction business started in 1914, celebrated a milestone of sorts last year, but who, you ask, outside the enormous Sullivan family, would care? Well, as it turns out, many people, including many outside the local communities permanently improved by the well-run, ethical and generous company. A Hundred Years On A Handshake: The Lively History of M. Sullivan and Son Limited – written and produced by Ottawa’s own Brian Hanington – is the reason that the story of the Sullivans and their adventures will wend its way, perhaps slowly but most certainly, across the provinces and down into the Unites States as time presses on.

Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoevsky

It’s critical when you pick up a classic like Crime and Punishment – first published in 1866 – that you understand where the author was coming from. Fyodor Dostoevsky’s intense, painful and complicated life is summarized very briefly on the inside cover of the 1982 Bantam Book edition of the 472-page novel. Born in 1821 in Moscow, he was the son of an abusive alcoholic army surgeon who was ultimately murdered by his own serfs. Tired of the elder man’s brutality, they drowned him in vodka by pouring the toxic liquid down his throat.

Thursday, 12 February 2015

Free at Last - Lynne Cohen

Full disclosure: Here is a review of my second book by friend and fellow author Brian Hanington. As you will read, though he loves my work, he has issues with some (maybe  most) of my strongly held opinions.

Reviewed by Brian Hanington

I’ve just finished Lynne Cohen’s autobiographic sketch Free At Last, and as a liberal with a quiet communist streak myself am happy to describe her work to others of my ilk.
    Unlike her more—shall we say—ardent counterparts in the right wing press, Cohen successfully maintains her forceful opinions on the usual range of flashpoint topics without sounding either arrogant or misinformed. Even better, she quietly makes the point that what we now view as arch-Republican conservatism was once thought decidedly liberal. So we begin to read Free At Last a bit back on our heels, thinking that just maybe the author isn’t nuts after all.

Things that Matter - Charles Krauthammer

Some books are winners the instant they are published by virtue of their authors. Charles Krauthammer’s latest title, Things That Matter: Three Decades of Passions, Pastimes and Politics, is one such winner. Still, the book is a let down in two small but significant ways: as a collection of Krauthammer’s commentaries, a good portion of it is a re-read; and his essay on Jewish destiny is just plain wrong. More on this latter minor irritant later.